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Open Access Anatomic and Physiologic Reference Values in Least Shrews (Cryptotis parva)

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Background and Purpose: The least shrew is an established animal model for reproductive and pharmacologic research. Biologic reference data are needed to assess animal health status and provide a rationale for use of novel statistical programs to evaluate the effects of orally administered substances in toxicologic and pharmacologic studies.

Methods: Organ weights, blood biochemical and hematologic values, and food and water consumption data were collected from 50-day-old shrews after two weeks' consumption of a standard feline diet.

Results: In general, data correlated well with values reported for other mammalian species. Plasma phosphorus concentration was high. There was a significant difference in food and water consumption per gram of body weight between shrews at lower and upper (± 1 SD) weight ranges for the study. The 3.2-g animals consumed 27% more food per gram of body weight than did the 5.0-g animals.

Conclusions: The high phosphorus concentration was attributed to hemolysis resulting from the axillary cut method of blood sample collection. The small size of the shrew allowed demonstration of the Kleiber effect within a ± 1 SD weight range in a single species. The phenomenon necessitates the use of statistical methods other than the typical tests establishing the significance of the differences between the means of groups for oral toxicologic and pharmacologic studies.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anatomy, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, 800 West Jefferson Street, Kirksville, Missouri 63501 2: Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Missouri—Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65211 3: Department of Pharmacology, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, Missouri 63501 4: Department of Biology, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri 63501

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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